TRANSCRIPT: AFRICOM's Ward Interviewed by France 24
U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs Print Share PARIS, France, Jan 8, 2010 — MARC PERELMAN: Hello and welcome to the France 24 interview. Today, we are welcoming Gen. Kip Ward. Gen. Kip Ward, you've served your country's military for the past four decades from Korea to Egypt to Somalia to Bosnia to Germany to Alaska. In 2005, you were in charge of coordinating security between Israel and the Palestinian Authority - very sensitive position, obviously.
Since late 2007, you are the first commander of the U.S. Africa Command, which is actually based in Germany but has jurisdiction over the whole continent, except Egypt. You're now 60 years old and you are, I believe, the only active African-American four-star general in the U.S. Army. Thank you very much for welcoming France 24 at this interview, which is being taped at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
My first question is that you're the head of this Africa Command since its creation by the Bush administration in 2007. Before that, Africa was divided between three military commands. The official mission is to ensure stability on the continent, but obviously, having a signal command has fueled suspicions that the U.S. was actually pursuing, maybe, imperialistic, new colonialist policies on the continent. What's your response?
GEN. WILLIAM E. WARD: I think the fact that we haven't done that has been a great statement that, that was not the intent. And so those suspicions have been demonstrated to be unfounded. The command was created, not to ensure, but to help promote stability through sustained security engagement to assist our African partners in their attempts to provide for their own security.
And the creation of a single command to do that as opposed to having it done as was in the past, through three separate commands, as a way of doing that in a more efficient and we think, effective way, working coherently, transparently and collaboratively with the various nations of the continent that seek our assistance, working with the regional organizations on the continent that seek our assistance and working with the African Union as it attempts to create the same condition of stability.